Weekly Green Tau

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About the Green Tau

The Green Tau blog comes from my love of life, of the natural world and of those human endeavours which are kind and generous. This love itself stems from my Christian faith which prioritises living life well and seeks to establish heaven on earth so all may live life to the full.

I want to use this blog to reach out to people, to inform them about the facts and the dangers of climate change, to point to changes we can make, and ways in which we can change the behaviour of businesses and governments,  to minimise the adverse affects of climate change and at the same time achieve fair and sustainable lifestyles that benefit everyone. 

In the short term the Green Tau blog will focus on COP26 climate conference, why it’s important and what it can achieve.

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Prayers for Creation: 27th January 2023

Trust in the Lord and be doing good; 

dwell in the land and be nourished with truth. 

Let your delight be in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire. Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, and he will bring it to pass.  (Psalm 37:3-5)

You Lord are the bread of life;

feed us with your wisdom.

Our meat is to do the Father’s  will.

guide us in all we do.

Whenever we eat or drink

Let it be to the glory of God.

A reading from Micah 4:3-4

He shall judge between many peoples,
    and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
    and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
    and no one shall make them afraid;
    for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 

A canticle based on Psalm 23


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures;

Year by year, the earth produces fresh food,  

enough to feed  10 billion people. 

He leads me beside still waters;
   he restores my soul.

River waters flow through all the earth’s  continents –  

volumes of fresh water but unequally apportioned.


He leads me in right paths
   for his name’s sake. 

Your word shows us where truth lies, 

your wisdom guides us.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
   I fear no evil;

Rather amongst business leaders and politicians, 

autocrats and diktats do I tremble. 

but you are with me;
   your rod and your staff— they comfort me. 

As you comfort and protect us, so may we 

comfort and protect all who live in fear.


You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;

May we be peace makers, 

generously sharing the abundance we have.


you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows. 

May we bring health and well being

 to all our brother and sisters in creation.


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,

May we all dwell in the house of the Lord 

all the days of our lives.

The Grace .

Counting on … day 1:026

26th January 2023

Recycle what can’t be repaired or reused. More and more things can now be recycled meaning that we should have less and less to throw into the dustbin. (Our dustbin only needs emptying 2 or 3 times a year at present and we’re working in reducing that). 

Again the net result is to make better use of scare resources and to protect the environment.

For more information – 

https://greentau.org/tag/plastic/

Counting on ….day 1:025

25th January 2023

Carry a keep cup and/ or a water bottle. We can help cafés avoid using throwaway cups by having our own ready to hand. (My preference is to sit in with a china cup but there are times when that is not possible!) There are some takeaway outlets that will fill you lunch box rather than supplying a throwaway container – https://www.refill.org.uk/

There are more and more places – including most main railway stations – where you can refill water bottles avoiding the need to pay for water in a single use plastic bottle. 

Refuse or avoid excess packaging. Producing things we don’t need is clearly a waste of resources. 

Saying no to the plastic bag, or looking for the least packaged items is a good starting point. If you feel a product has too much packaging or has non-recyclable packaging you could post the problematic packaging back to the manufacturer with a letter of explanation – it might nudge them to respond. For a lot of food items you can shop at the increasing number of refill shops where you can take in your own containers or use paper bags or make use of a milk delivery service. Milk and More for example delivers not just dairy milk in refill bottles but also oat milk, laundry and washing liquids, fruit juices etc.

For more information- https://greentau.org/2022/01/24/the-green-tau-issue-31/

Counting on …day 1:023

23rd January 2023

Support ethical/ eco friendly/ fair trade  businesses – use your money like a vote. By opting for fair trade coffee one is ensuring that the people who grow the beans get a fair wage – or buy specialist beans where again the suppliers guarantee a fair wage. Fair wages are needed in the UK too. Opt for companies that pay the real Living Wage. Equally look to buy from companies that pay their taxes!

For further info – https://greentau.org/2022/02/24/eco-tips/

Counting on … day 1.022

22nd January 2023

Be a citizen scientist. The records made by citizen scientists help us to aim a better understanding of the environment, its biodiversity, its interconnected ecosystems and our place within it.

Next weekend is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Take time out and spend an hour counting the birds in your garden or local park – https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

Similar events happened throughout the year with projects inviting you to count wild flowers, butterflies, bees etc.

For more information try the following web sites – 

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/citizen-science.html

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/citizen-science

Epiphany 3

22nd February 2023

Reflection (readings follow on below)

The word epiphany comes from the Greek and means to show or shine on. From this comes the idea of revealing, displaying or making manifest. A light shines onto something and what is in view is made clear. 

At the beginning of this season we heard the story of the magi. They had, it seems, devoted their life to looking at the stars (which are in themselves lights) in order to discover new truths about the world. They see a star and see it as pointing to the birth of a new and important king. The star itself doesn’t in fact reveal all they need to know, and they head to Jerusalem to consult Herod and his wise men to hone their understanding. Finally they do find the child and in worshipping the child, gain a new revelation. The child’s life is threatened by Herod and they depart by a different route. I am sure that throughout the remainder of their lives they continued to seek further enlightenment the child they had worshipped.  

The prophet Isaiah has been called to call the people back to God, for on’y then will they escape the danger that threaten them and their world. In today’s passage light comes not from a star but from God. The light is a gift from God to the people that brings them joy and release from the burdens of oppression – the physical oppression from their enemies and the spiritual oppression of sin. It is a light that shows them the way out of their troubles. It is a means of enlightenment.

As we look around our world today with war and conflict, oppression and injustice, climate and biodiversity crises, we know we need enlightenment. It seem that we can seek enlightenment in two ways – both of which are not in opposition to each other. Through seeking God’s light and renewing our spiritual well-being. And through seeking enlightenment about the natural world in which we live and about which we are not as well versed as we might be. In seeking to understand the world around us, we learn truths about God, about the amazing connectivity and interdependency and life enriching wonder of creation. In seeking to know God, we learn of God’s ongoing love for creation.

Isaiah 9:1-4

There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness–
on them light has shined.

You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.

For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear? *
the Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord;
one thing I seek; *
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life

To behold the fair beauty of the Lord *
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; *
he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Even now he lifts up my head *
above my enemies round about me.

Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation
with sounds of great gladness; *
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

7 Hearken to my voice, O Lord, when I call; *
have mercy on me and answer me.

8 You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.” *
Your face, Lord, will I seek.

9  Hide not your face from me, *
nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

You have been my helper;
cast me not away; *
do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptised in my name. (I did baptise also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptised anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,

and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

Green Tau: issue 62

20th January 2023

Imagining life in 2033

By 2033 we should be at least half way to net zero. How will things have changed? What will daily life look like? Imagine a letter from the future …

In many ways life in 2033 is not that different from in 2023. I still live in the same house, with the same husband and even the same – now rather elderly – cat. We have recently replaced the solar panels on our roof and are now not just self sufficient for energy but are regularly put electricity back into the grid. Talking of solar panels, every house in our street now has them, as does the local school and our church – and you have probably guessed, very few buildings now-a-days have gas boilers.

Other changes in our street include more trees, which provide welcome shade during heat waves, and fewer cars. Being an affluent area, most people have hung into their electric cars despite the rising ULEZ charge, but as in most urban areas many more journeys are now made by cycle or public transport. All main roads now have a dedicated cycle track wide enough for cargo and family bikes.  Buses and suburban trains have all been free for the last five years leading to less cars using the roads and, therefore, faster journey times for buses! Suburban trains run on a regular ten minute interval and trains on the mainlines operate on a ‘Taktfahrplan’ similar to the Swiss one, ensuring good connections on all routes. Most people opt for the half price rail card, especially families as children travel free.

Another change you might notice is the number of cargo cycles. They were certainly around in 2023 but the exception rather than the rule. Increases in road tax in 2025 saw a rapid expansion of delivery bikes, and electric ones regularly use the vehicle lane on the main roads where they can move at the same speed as other users – oh yes, I should have pointed out that in London the speed limit is now  20mph on all roads. The NHS has certainly benefited from the upswing in cycling. It has made us fitter and the reduced particulate pollution from tyres and brakes has helped reduce breathing problems. There is talk now of replacing buses with trams. 

You will be pleased to hear that we do still have a national health service. There were some dodgy moments when it looked like the system might collapse, but with the influence of a people’s assembly, the whole health and welfare system is being overhauled. There is a focus on preventative care and long term investment plan – improving the health of children (physical, mental and educational) will have profound benefits for our society but the financial savings may take 20 to 30 years to kick in. 

It has been surprising how much addressing the climate crisis has actually improved people’s wellbeing. All school and institutional meals are now all plant based, and I hope you are not surprised to hear that plant based dishes now occupy at least 50% of all restaurant menus. Vegan cooking is now mainstream although at the time the All Vegan Bake Off series in 2024 seemed radical. The change in our diets has not only improved our health but has changed the appearance of the rural landscape. With fewer livestock, those that are kept have a much higher welfare standard. And you will find that many farms and some of the larger rural homes keep a couple of sheep or pigs as outdoor pets. The UK is now self sufficient in growing wheat, whilst other arable land has been given over to growing a vast number of different fruits and vegetables. It has been a horticultural revolution with drip feed irrigation and small robots and drones making the work less back breaking. Work in this sector is now well paid and popular. Orchards have expanded and now encompass new trees such as olives, walnuts, pistachios and almonds, and are often intercropped with shade loving crops. The amount of trees in the landscape is perhaps the biggest change that you would notice. Not only have we seen orchards expand, but many areas have been rewilded with wide hedgerows, copses and new woodlands. The latest nature report has shown an increase in biodiversity in the UK. It is a revival that has had to be worked at but is now reaping rewards. Nightingales are now often recorded – but not necessarily in Berkeley Square! – and a new generation of children are listening out for the cuckoos in spring. Walks and trips to wildlife hides are increasingly popular as there is now so much more wildlife to see!

The Upper Richmond Road is still our main shopping area but it does look more attractive with more trees and well-stocked planters. If you want a few herbs, it’s a case of pick your own. I was going to say the traffic moves more slowly as back in 2023 the speed limit was 30mph. But now-a-days the traffic moves at a pretty constant 20mph which I’m sure is faster than it was then. I can remember sitting in the Artisan cafe watching the traffic remain stationary as the lights went from red to green and back to red. Traffic lanes are narrower now to make  space for the cycle lanes. Milestone Green has finally been revamped (that’s been at least ten years in the planning) with new seating, a water feature and a large chess board. 

There are a few different shops, such as The Splash – a bike wash coffee shop where customers enjoy a coffee and cake whilst their bike is cleaned, oil and tyres pumped. There’s the now standard repair shop, Repairs are Us, where can get virtual anything domestic repaired, and next to the Fara charity shop, is Tailor Tricks where they readjust any clothes you buy at Fara (or elsewhere) to fit. If you like a skirt but is too long or trousers that are too wide, they speedily make the adjustments. At the other end of the market is the made to measure fashion outlet. Video loops from the latest catwalks plus magazines and fabric swatches all entice you to try something new. Interactive screens show you what you would look like in these garments, and once you have made your choice, the workshop sets to work and within hours your made to measure outfit is ready. 

Of course there are more cycle shops – and cycle accessory shops. The pet shops still thrive as we are increasingly aware of the value of pets for our mental wellbeing. Another growth has been in plant shops as we increasingly enjoy filling our homes with living things – as well as a growth in companies offering plant care services. Sheen also has its own coffee roastery, brewery, two new bakeries and a nut-cheese delicatessen. The local council has made a real effort to promote local businesses with preferential rates for local businesses. 

Packaging has definitely changed. Initially it was the ending of single use plastic cups and boxes in 2023 that stimulated change. As suppliers adapted the packaging they produced, so supermarkets adopted this same packaging for ready meals, salads and pre-packed fruit. A year later reverse vending machines for bottles became obligatory – in supermarkets initially but quickly afterwards in all shops selling bottled goods. This included both glass and reusable plastic bottles, glass jars and reusable yogurt pots. All single use packaging is now either recyclable or compostable. The effect on refuse and recycling services has been marked. With less to throw into dustbins and recycling bins, most weekly collections have been replaced by fortnightly ones – a useful cost saving for councils.

As we have adapted to more extreme weather conditions so we have been adapting our buildings. Awnings that pull out are popular for both shops, houses and flats to provide shade in the summer but there can be problems if these are not safely retracted in advance of strong winds. The met office app usually provides adequate advance warning. Shops tend to have more substantial affairs that also provide protection from the rain. Keeping customers dry is a definite plus for trade!

Overhead there are far fewer airplanes – you might recall from the first covid lock down how surprised we were when the planes stopped and we could hear birds singing. Well that’s what we have now on a daily basis. There is a heavy tax to be paid for air flights (although there is an annual tax allowance that can put towards long haul flights). Air freight is gradually being replaced by rail freight and marine cargo vessels. Some capacity in the system has been freed up as we are no longer shipping oil, gas and coal around the world, and there has also been a sharp decline in the amount of animal feed and meat being shipped. Increasingly popular are cargo ships linking up with educational packages. You can take a ten day crossing over the Atlantic and use the time to engage in a fully immersive language course, learn to play bridge, or do a page to stage theatre production. 

Ten years on things have changed but it is not a totally different world nor a life lacking in comfort. If anything we have a healthier and happier lifestyle. 

Counting on …day 1:21

21st January 2023

Shop locally, support local businesses.

How can this help the environment? Shopping locally means we travel shorter distances that can be done on foot or cycle. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses means we are keeping our local community alive, providing jobs locally and ensuring that there is the good range of shops and businesses that we need if we are to avoid long shopping journeys. Walking to local shops encourages us to greet and talk with our neighbours – the people we pass in the street. It builds up relationships that are valuable when we have a problem – when I was isolating due to covid, local shops would deliver. Supporting locally businesses encourages them to support local initiatives from putting up posters in their windows to making donations.